by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7 July 31, 2011 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(103)Thesis:The real issue in justification has always been "faith", and the issue of "faith" has always been its undergirding foundation.
Introduction:I tried to make a case in our last study for my claim that Paul did not use the phrase, ean mh , in a unique way. It is not adversative ("but"); it is exceptional ("except"). At the heart of the issue is the foundation of the Gospel: Jesus Christ did perfectly perform "under the Law" sothat we have a redeemer. Paul actually said this in Galatians 4:4-5. My point was this: Jesus Christ was justified outof His works of law as the singular exception to Paul's claim that a man is not justified out of his works of law.
Now, the way Paul put his sentence together deliberately zeros in on "faith" as the key issue (he uses the faith/believe terminology three times in this single sentence). In this study we are going to address the reason for this.
I. The "Bookends" of the Verse.
A. On the front end is the declaration that "a man is not justified out of works of law".
B. On the back end is the declaration that "no flesh is justified out of works of law".
C. The difference is the "exception" on the front end and the greater specificity on the back end.
1. The distinction involves the fact that Jesus Christ was "a man" but not "flesh".
2. The "flesh" terminology is complicated by the fact that it invariably involves the issues involved in genetic continuation (Romans 1:3), but, more specifically, derives its negativity from the genetic continuation of Adam's genetics (Romans 5:12).
a. The virgin birth was not merely a "stupendous miracle".
b. The virgin birth was a deliberate method of isolating Jesus from the male aspect of genetic continuation.
D. The point, then, is that the "isolated" Redeemer was justified by His works of law so that He could deliver the children of Adam (compare Galatians 4:4-5 to Ephesians 2:15).
II. The "Books".
A. The "faith of Jesus Christ" made Him exceptional.
1. Justification "out of" works of law involves the process of a legal examination of one's behavior so that the outcome is "out of" that process.
2. Justification "through" faith digs more deeply into the driving force of the "behavior".
a. Man became a "sinner" because he did not "believe" God so that his behavior was a violation of God's proscription.
b. Jesus Christ succeeded in producing the proper behavior simply because He did "believe" the Father.
B. The "believing" of those who are justified by that faith.
1. The phrase is "even we believed into Christ Jesus".
2. The issues are two: what "belief" does; and what "belief" is.
a. "Belief", as a sponsor of other things, consistently produces a "commensurate response" so that the behavior fulfills the content of the "belief".
b. "Belief", as an entity, is an "excluding conviction" that understands the boundaries of the "truth" believed and rejects everything outside of those boundaries.
1) The exceptionalism of the first "bookend" means that no man can stand the scrutiny of "law" except Jesus Christ so that "faith" focuses completely upon the behavior of Jesus Christ to the exclusion of any personal actions of the "believer".
2) The "fleshliness" of the final "bookend" means that no descendent of Adam can ever "believe in" his/her own works of law.
3. The phrase includes an intensified form of the required preposition.
a. The preposition indicates the content of the excluding conviction.
b. But, Galatians 3:26 only requires faith "in" Christ Jesus.
c. Paul's term is "into" and provides a stronger focus upon what is exactly involved: a precise focus of content.
C. The "faith of Christ" as the focus of our faith [Note Romans 1:17 ... by faith for faith].
1. At issue is whether we will be "justified" before God as the basis for acceptance by Him for participation in His eternal Kingdom.
a. The possible methods are two: out of the faith of Christ; or out of (our) works of law.
b. The outcome is eternally critical.
2. Paul's focus is "the faith of" or, derivatively, "the faithfulness of" Christ.